The facilities and grounds of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust will become smoke free areas from March 9.
In line with Northern Ireland’s other health and social care sites, smoking will not be allowed in any Northern Trust areas – including all buildings, doorways/entrances, grounds, cars and car parks.
Signage in relation to the smoke free status is currently being erected across the Trust estate and existing smoking shelters are being dismantled.
From No Smoking Day (March 9), smoking will not be allowed on site by staff, patients or visitors.
Northern Trust Medical Director, Dr Ken Lowry said: “One in every two people who smoke will die from their habit. One third of all cancer deaths and a significant proportion of coronary heart disease, strokes and circulatory illnesses are caused by smoking.
“Every year in Northern Ireland it is costing somewhere in the region of £164 million to treat smoking related illnesses. Put in perspective, that is the equivalent of one quarter of the Northern Trust’s total annual operating budget.”
By creating smoke free environments, the Trust is hoping that it can take a big step forward in empowering people to quit their habit and live healthier lives.
Confirming that stopping smoking is the single greatest thing that people can do to improve their health, Dr Lowry added: “Our aim is not only to protect people’s health but also to influence cultural change by creating new norms around smoking in public. People should certainly not be subjected to second-hand smoke on our facilities.”
Specialist stop smoking support is available through GPs or pharmacists for those who want to quit smoking. Further information about support services is available from the Trust’s Health Improvement Service on 028 2563 5575 or online at www.want2stop.info